I distinctly recall my mother spinning around the kitchen on the tips of her toes, her huge eyes locking on mine and firmly declaring, “Cherlyn, I’m going to wash your mouth out with soap!” I’d like to say this was an isolated incident, a random occurrence, but my untamed tongue was often the source of my trouble. I was sassy — and soapy.
Fast forward to last week and now it was me with the saucer eyes and gaped jaw as the Elementary School Principal shocked me with what escaped my daughter’s lips. This kid was lucky to not get herself suspended. That afternoon, my mini me and I had a very serious conversation about the power of the tongue.
Proverbs tells us the tongue either speaks life or death. I look at the chaos of my life and I can see wreckage. I can see how using the wrong words made things worse: how they escalated the fight, tore people down, destroyed trust and entrenched polarizing positions. We have to see what comes out of our mouth as either ending conflict or inciting it. As either fueling the fire of our chaos or putting it out?
Paul cautions us in Philippians 2.4 to not grumble or complain. It is so easy to get caught in the trap and get our frustration off our chests, but those words do not help. Grumbling and complaining is what made the exodus from Egypt and the entrance to the Promised Land take 40 years. It was their words which got them stuck in the wilderness. It was their words which caused an entire generation to miss out on what God had.
So, instead of complaining, we first need to ask, ‘what do our circumstances need?’ When we know what they need we can choose our words more carefully. In a financial struggle do we need provision. In a health trial do we need healing. In a decision do we need wisdom. Think about the current chaos in your life and jot down what it needs?
Second, we need to find what the Word of God says. What are His promises? What is it He says about us and our problems? Then, we need to seek wisdom, Psalms talks about using our mouth to speak wisdom. And James 1.5 says if anyone lacks wisdom let him ask God who gives generously to all without finding fault. When we get God’s word and his wisdom on our circumstances, we know exactly what to say. Because until we examine what our circumstances need and find what the Word of God says we will be speaking with no power.
Take a quick minute to think about what you say to your circumstances do you get all mouthy and negative or do you choose your words carefully? Then, find a promise from God about what is happening in your life and begin speaking that promise out loud. This is the power of speaking the Word, we take what God says and we declare it, OUT LOUD. Speaking to our problem what God says ABOUT it commands his authority OVER it. You see, when we know what God says about our circumstances and we declare those things out loud it actually commands God’s authority OVER our circumstances and that is when things begin to change.
If you are having trouble speaking what God says over your circumstances, check out my Declarations.
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Find that voice inside that responds to all your circumstances with confident boldness, that voice that sends packing all the doubts, fears, anxieties, and worries; and that voice that stops the chaos from spinning. How do you roar like that? Find out how in Cherlyn's new book Roar Back: Transforming Struggles Into Strength.